Hidden in the heart of the historic downtown neighborhood, the tour will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 19.
The tour is limited to advance reservations only as the tour has sold out. The tour tickets are $55 for nonmembers of the society, $50 for members, and $75 for a ticket and a first-time-only membership. Click here to purchase tickets online, or mail a check to the Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour, P.O. Box 30405, Santa Barbara, CA 93130. For information, call 805.961.3938.
The tour will feature six adobes with iconic architecture depicting Santa Barbara’s rich cultural legacy. The adobes in the tour include Casa de la Guerra, El Cuartel, Arellanes-Kirk Adobe, Hill-Carrillo Adobe, Lugo Adobe, Gonzales-Ramirez Adobe and the El Paseo. It’s a rare opportunity that will delight history aficionados, local residences and visitors.
Santa Barbara in the 1920s saw a renewed appreciation of its Spanish Colonial past, and several prominent civic leaders set about preserving those adobe structures that had escaped regression into mud and straw with the advent of American clapboard and brick.
One of the most influential Californio families built the Casa de la Guerra. It was the center of Santa Barbara’s social and political life. Accurately restored and plenteous in history and legend, it continues that role today with special exhibits and living history reenactments on the day of this year’s tour.
The El Cuartel, the oldest adobe in Santa Barbara and second oldest in California, is the only original part of the Presidio still standing. It became the home of retired Presidio soldier José Jesus Valenzuela and 100 years later housed the local Boy Scout Council.
The Arellanes-Kirk Adobe is a private residence. The expanded home contains the original adobe house belonging to Barbara Dominguez, whose marriage to Francisco Arellanes linked two historic Spanish families — hers dating back to the Santa Barbara Presidio; his to service with Hernando Cortés.
Daniel Hill, a Yankee sailor who married the young and beautiful Rafaela Luisa Ortega, built the Hill-Carrillo Adobe in 1825. The old adobe walls have absorbed a wealth of history. Major Max Fleischmann, who presented it to the Santa Barbara Foundation, saved this relicario of the past from demolition in 1928.
A retired Presidio soldier built the Lugo Adobe. This humble abode was incorporated into Bernhard Hoffmann’s colorful and elegant Meridian Studio complex and served as an office for several renowned Santa Barbara architects.
The Gonzalez-Ramirez Adobe was occupied by members of the same family for nearly 100 years. The aged adobe was preserved and renovated in 1922. Today it is a private residence and bookstore offering rare publications.
The El Paseo is Rural Spanish, and domestic adobe architecture inspired the 1922 complex where Borein moved his studio after the earthquake in 1925. The tour visits the long-closed studio as well as rarely seen offices and apartments.
The mission of the Pearl Chase Society is to increase public awareness and encourage the preservation of Santa Barbara’s historic structures, gardens and other resources. It is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. Contributions are deductible for tax purposes to the extent allowed by law.
— Jennifer Jimmerson is a publicist representing the Pearl Chase Society.